This Indonesian woman, Dinda, believes that the licks from her cat cures her acne. It begs the question whether cat licks are a general cure for acne hence the question in the title. Her cat’s name is Nia. Dinda’s sister, Debi, filmed Nia diligently licking her sister’s face. She claims that the cat licking has cleared her skin and reduced her spots.
The process began when Nia started to lick her face while she was studying at home. Nia does not lick anybody else’s face which is not exceptional, by the way, because the reason why Nia licks her owner’s face is because it’s a form of mutual grooming. In the cat’s mind she is licking another cat (surrogate mother) during a session of allogrooming. There’s nothing unusual about it.
The unusual claim however is pretty extraordinary and personally I have big doubts about whether it is genuinely working. Cat saliva is not particularly dangerous if it is deposited on a person’s face through licking but if the cat bites and/or the skin is broken then bacteria within the saliva can infect the body. We know full well how cat bites can sometimes become infected by bacteria ‘injected’ into the person by the cat’s teeth. These infected bites can be quite serious although they are relatively rare.
I don’t see how a cat lick is any better than decent wash except for the fact that a cat’s tongue is abrasive. But you can replicate that with a bathroom sponge or similar item.
The Daily Mail reports the story of a 63-year-old man who died after catching a rare disease from his pet’s saliva. He had been infected with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria which is normally transmitted through bites as described above but it can spread through just a lick according to the Daily Mail Report.